Monday, February 26, 2007
While I don't recall much of what was discussed (it was a few days before my wedding), we did check out De La Guarda (crazy acrobats meets Rent).
Sunday, February 25, 2007
I think it just magically appeared on my desk for helping out with some recruiting event.
Saturday, February 24, 2007
- NY Giants head coach Tom Coughlin in response to retiring running back Tiki Barber's claims that Coughlin's tough practice regimen helped was a factor in his decision to leave the game
Everyone then learned of another periodic TGIF tradition - the mad rush to get some new t-shirt or other garment being distributed. This time it was a lightweight fleece pullover in red, green or blue.
Friday, February 23, 2007
Google traditionally doesn't do the "big booth thing" and I was kinda surprised by our presence here. It's probably because we displayed at a Digital Life conference in NYC and there was some sunk cost is getting the booth built. Anyway, it was neat with giant Lego pieces.
Thursday, February 22, 2007
Utopias never live up to their aspirations, even in the virtual world, and the more passionate will keep looking. "We all go from anticipation to anticipation," said Paul Saffo, a Silicon Valley futurist.
Would you believe me if I said this disenchantment is actually a hallmark of success? Philip and I used to talk about the role of '3D true believers,' those folks who immediately rushed into Second Life because it was exactly what they'd been seeking after years of almost-viable user-created experiences. Obviously these people were (and are) really important to the community - they were the first ones to push the platform to its limits. But at the same time they are clearly not indicative of the average user -- on the whole this folks were more creative, more sensitive and more quirky than most niches of consumers.
In the end, it becomes the classic power-user vs common-user issue. When prioritizing features do you put more icing on the cake for your most vocal 5%, try to figure out how to get the other 95% happier, or design for the n+1 user (the next person to user your system)?
Lots of this has to do with what part of the lifecycle your product is experiencing. Second Life is still undergoing organic growth where the number of people who have logged in is far dwarfed by those who have not but might be interested. IMHO they're in the "focus on the other 95%" portion of their development. And this means you're gonna disappoint the 5% sometimes. But that's okay.
Now what if some of them get so disenchanted they leave? I actually think that's natural. A world like Second Life needs to be sustained by the scalable experiences of many, not just the dreams of a few.
Most forms of entertainment don't get that kind of gestation period ordinarily. It has to be at least five years. And all of a sudden my daughter said to me, "Say, have you heard about this Second Life thing?"
WW: Yeah, it's probably more like six or seven years… I think the first version launched in 2001. And the important part of that development wasn't so much what Linden Labs did, it was the user community. In fact they were very careful to nurture the right of user community and it took them three or four years to do that, and then the community were really the ones who grew it from that point.
>> HW: Our internal estimates were 4-7 years until the community hit critical mass. A "game" doesn't have that luxury, especially when it's packaged software that only gets shelf-space for a limited amount of time. We actually went alpha in 2002, not 2001.
So what we need now is to be able to bring your Spore creature into Second Life.
WW: Well really, they're both tools-based, so it's a matter of can we create lower and lower function tools for people in those environments to use to then create a collective experience.
>> HW: At the lowest common denominator level it's just skinning a Second Life avatar to look like a Spore creature. Carrying over the attributes properties of that creature, especially relative to other creatures, is what's most challenging in the general purpose SL environment where these things aren't hard-coded -- i.e. if you wanted to support the notion that Spore A was built to fly higher than Spore B and this should maintained in SL.
Tuesday, February 20, 2007
Some might insist this is a shoulder bag or maybe even a "rucksack." Don't kid yourself, it's a fanny pack. You wear this and you might as well strap on the sandals and socks too.
I believe it came stuffed with a small wooden puzzle and maybe some other swag.
Monday, February 19, 2007
When "Afroninja" was posted, it was viewed 80 million times—placing it roughly on par with the final episode of Cheers in terms of audience.
While some of my garments have stories, others tell no tales. These two shirts were just random Google logo t's that came to me via the T-Shirt cabinet -- a magical place on campus periodically filled with random gear for Googlers. This mechanism has been the discussion of many email threads about proper etiquette and efficiency for optimal t-shirt distribution.
Sunday, February 18, 2007
In 2004 the annual picnic was coincidentally just after our IPO which lead some reporters to believe it was a celebration tied to the event. Not true -- to most of us the IPO was a pretty cool day, but not something to celebrate. We just wanted to get back to work -- I mean there were so many news crews around, more than I'd ever seen without the chalk outline of a crime scene.
Oh yeah, and this hat - they gave out hats at the picnic :)
Friday, February 16, 2007
I've met Bing Gordon, EA Founder and creative visionary, a few times. He had a great statement about the future prospects of virtual environments (paraphrasing): "Online worlds will become part of every teenager's life because of the ability to try on different personas."
Think that's a market they're interested in? Yup.
Thursday, February 15, 2007
We famously get hundreds of thousands of resumes a month but still we're hungry for new recruits. As a product manager helping to grow the team is a high priority - # interviews and # referrals are factored into our performance scores. There's also a small monetary incentive if your referral gets hired but given the rejection rate i think this bonus is likely 1/10th of what it actually should be. I've gotten two people hired with well over 50 referrals.
So if you want to work here just check out our Jobs page and let me know.
Wednesday, February 14, 2007
A review of the concert film ''Fade to Black'' in Weekend yesterday misidentified a star appearing in the film with the rapper Jay-Z. She was Foxy Brown, not Lil' Kim. Because of an editing error, a picture caption misidentified the singer dressed all in white. He was R. Kelly, not Jay-Z.
Tuesday, February 13, 2007
People sometimes disregard James because Hot or Not is a simple concept and they've milked it for several years as a cash cow. I'm thinking people will start to see more dimensions from James in the coming months and his blog already reflects this.
Sunday, February 11, 2007
He mentions Google, not in the good way: "I was at a Google conference last month, and I spent some time in a room filled with (pretty newly minuted) Google salesreps. I talked to a few of them for a while about the state of the industry. And it broke my heart to discover that they were sheepwalking."
Now I can't really comment one way or another on the conversations that Seth had with my fellow Googlers, but it resonated with me from a hiring discussion I had last year. My concern was with "blockers and tacklers" - those who do the job but are unlikely to write new plays into the playbook.
If a company finds itself hiring more "B&Ts" (which I'll generously define as people who are quite capable of doing their job but not interested in changing the status quo) at the very least it should hire some freaks at the fringes. I figure I've got two strategies at Google - either I can try to push us to not hire B&Ts or I can campaign to take risks with folks who will help us continue to push the boundaries. I'm kind of doing both but informally via my own interview feedback on candidates.
2004 was my first year attending - the shirts are always a big hit so I've foregone the last two because of long lines. Best one was still 2003's "Do the Robot."
Wednesday, February 07, 2007
Shortly thereafter some random boxes of Sprinks promotional gear showed up.
Monday, February 05, 2007
In the early days, we were modeling a number of assumptions relevant to our adoption and addressable base. Consumer broadband was the big one, followed by graphics cards. I was keeper of these charts and with each new Dell catalog, would excitedly benchmark what $500, $750 and $1000+ could buy. We needed the entry level PC to run us out of the box. It was happening too -- desktop prices were falling quickly and with the exception of enterprise models (which often left out a graphics card to save $), every new computer was shipping with solid technology to run SL at reasonable levels.
Then WiFi started getting hot and laptops became the new PC of choice faster than we, or analysts, had predicted.
These notebooks were powerful enough to run most applications but 12-18 mths behind in terms of processor and graphics cards. D'oh! We hoped that these notebooks would become the second computer in a household, but instead they started to serve dual purposes as both an office and portable device. We were in danger of missing a hardware upgrade cycle, especially troubling because these new laptops were disproportionately being purchased by a younger demographic and web creatives, target markets for SL.
As the article notes, "that wait severely tested Linden Lab's financial reserves" and was one of the factors in the 2003 cash crunch.
Sunday, February 04, 2007
A gig of webmail storage for free sent Microsoft and Yahoo scrambling to keep up.
This shirt also taught me another important lesson: at tech companies and comic book stores, XL t-shirts are really XXXL (perhaps so the husky occupants feel a bit more svelte).
Saturday, February 03, 2007
These educational weekends continue throughout the rest of the year at the Farmer's Market and cover a variety of topics.
Friday, February 02, 2007
(hat tip Susan Mernit)